Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Odell Hobbs (1937-2008)

Odell Hobbs, the longtime Richmond chorusmaster and former chairman of the Virginia Union University music department, has died at the age of 71.

Dr. Hobbs, a scholar of the Negro spiritual and African-American classical, folk and church music, was a graduate of Howard University and Catholic University of Washington.

He taught at Langston University in Oklahoma from 1960-66 and was interim director of the Tuskegee Choir of Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University) in Alabama from 1960-62. He joined the Virginia Union faculty in 1966 and founded its music department a year later. He served as the department's chairman and director of the Virginia Union Concert Choir until 1991, when he joined the faculty of Florida A&M University and became director of the Florida A&M Concert Choir. After his retirement, he returned to Richmond.

In later life, Dr. Hobbs directed The Choral Society of St. Paul’s College in Lawrenceville, VA, conducted instructional workshops and led several community choirs in the Richmond area.

Dr. Hobbs was a 2005 recipient of Catholic University’s Alumni Achievement Award for outstanding accomplishments in his field.